Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hometown Visit: Columbus Commons

Columbus, Ohio is my hometown. We were back for a visit last month to attend of my cousin's wedding. My parents moved to Chicago at almost the same time that I did a few years back. As a result I hadn't been back since around the time of that move. We were long overdue for the usually drive around town to  check out how things have changed. The Ohio State Campus always has so much construction going on, but on this trip there seemed to be more than usual throughout the city.

Columbus Commons Columbus Commons

The demolition of City Center in 2009, Columbus's downtown shopping mall, is certainly the biggest change that has happened since we moved away. I remember when the mall was built in 1989. It was really big deal. Since Lex Wexner resides in Columbus Ohio, it of course had all the limited brand stores, including his recent acquisition an Henri Bendel. I still have a skirt I got there, which was probably deeply discounted, that I will likely never get rid of for nostalgia's sake. (A lot of development in Columbus involves Lex Wexner, they are currently building the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State, for example.)  The mall was in a state of decline for a long time, mainly due to the fact that several larger, suburban malls were constructed. City Center could no longer draw suburbanites into the somewhat neglected downtown. 

City Center Columbus Commons

Shortly after the demolition was proposed, there was a plan to develop the site for a housing project. It looks like there has been some attempt to get some housing downtown since with left, with a few tower projects nearby. But in the end they have turned it into a large park called the "Columbus Commons." It has a carousel and amphitheater; both feel a bit small for such a large site. Also, unlike many good urban parks, the buildings surrounding the site are not much to look at. In the picture above you can see the old, no longer open, Lazarus Department store building. Either side of the park in the other direction has a view of parking garages. Occasionally there's still signage from the mall, and the covered connector space next to the Ohio Theater was maintained. Now it will take you between the Commons and the State House lawn.

Still,  The official grand opening is later this month, and it could be nice to have a downtown event space in the summer. 


affectioknit said...

I've been there...our Church has it's convention in Columbus...and we belong to the zoo too...because we're there every year...it's awesome!

~Have a lovely day!

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